Nationals Baseball: Too busy

Monday, July 09, 2018

Too busy

Sorry in this crucial week that I'm busy but hey - I asked you to fund my 100K Patreon account and you guys fell way short of the goal offering $23 and the entire run of Major Dad on VHS.  Sure I took it - but I feel I paid that off in two posts.

This might be my only post of the week but stay strong knowing that nothing has changed.  The Nats needed to rock this 11 game set. They still do. They rocked the Marlins well enough (3-1). It wasn't overly convincing and neither Roark or Gio snapped out of their doldrums, but it was 3-1 nonetheless. They did not rock the Pirates in game 1 but 2-1 is the goal. So win those two.  Win those two and go 3-1 versus the Mets that's a 5-1 run and probably another game at least gained on the Phillies or the Braves (whoever goes 4-2). 4 games out at the ASB? That's doable people!

42 comments:

W. Patterson said...

Major Dad? And you took it? Talk about setting the bar lower than Severino's batting average . . .

Winning is tough when you've only 1.5 starting pitchers. I tuned in late last night and wondered who the hell it was pitching for the Nats. Maybe Dave should have put Reynolds in in the first inning - and the Nats still can't get runners in from scoring position.

Yeah, it's Tuesday and I'm being overly negative. Maybe it's because I never actually watched an episode of Major Dad all the way through.

JE34 said...

Some days this blog feels like a group session from The Bob Newhart Show, and I'm turning into Mr Carlin.

Ole PBN said...

Read an article on ESPN that named the one player on all 30 teams that should be traded. The Nats? Jefry Rodriguez. Now, ESPN doesn't know this franchise or its minor league "depth" like we do, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. It does bring up an interesting note: Trading Jefry Rodriguez for what? Depleting our depth even more and what are we going to get for our #13 prospect who is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA with a 17/12 k/bb ratio? Is there any possibility that this kid is being misused as a starter? Aside from the poor command he showed yesterday, his fastball does have some life to go along with a decent late-action curve. But that's it. I see him contributing in the bullpen. Why is management forcing this? Same with Reynaldo Lopez.

If you look at the Nats farm system, you have a couple intriguing SP's and a plethora of serviceable bullpen arms. Why is that? I'd venture to say that our lower-level coaching isn't developing the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pitches needed for these kids to be successful in a big league rotation. Since Strasburg, we've whiffed on a number of our top pitchers drafted: Solis (ended up in the pen), Cole (whiff), Meyer (whiff), Giolito (jury still out - but whiff), Johansen (whiff), Fedde (whiff), Dunning (got rid of), Romero (issues off the field). Dunning, who is still unproven, is the only marginally impressive pick since Stras and Storen were selected in the first round of 2011. Just some musings after another loss. Not blaming Rodriguez for it, just not sure why he was starting that game. Although I couldn't tell you who in the entire farm should have been starting instead of him. And that is the problem.

Ole PBN said...

*sorry, I meant 2009, when Stras and Storen were drafted (wow, almost 10 years)...

Mainelaker said...

What does it take to get Eovaldi and Ramos as a package?

Kubla said...

@OPBN

It isn't just pitching that they haven't drafted well. Other than Rendon, they've only drafted well in the first round when they've had the #1 pick and there's a consensus #1 player to draft. If Carter Kieboom pans out, he'll be the first in a while.

I've read that the Nats are inclined toward drafting college players. While I suppose this allows a more accurate assessment of their abilities, it also means draftees are starting older. Harper has pointed out in the past how a lot of farm system guys have aged into non-prospects by the time they're making significant noise in the minors.

Robles and Soto were international FAs. Give that part of the scouting department bonuses.

G Cracka X said...

@Ole PBN

I think the main reason for the lack of pitching depth in the minors is not mainly injuries or coaching or drafting, but trades.

Here is a list I can think of for potential starters that the Nats have traded away in the last 5 years: Karns, Ray, Pivetta, Giolito, Lopez, Dunning, Luzardo.

Obviously, some are doing better than others and some haven't arrived yet, but overall that's a lot of talent out the window, and eventually that catches up with you as an organization. I think the Nats realize that, and that's why the 2018 draft was focused on pitching, but that won't help them until the future.

DezoPenguin said...

Wieters returns, providing our beleaguered catching situation with the relief it so desperately needed, providing us with poor hitting with an upside of meh combined with iron-gloved defense, abysmal framing, and...allegedly good game calling, maybe? The true sadness of this situation is the immediate thought that he can't do any worse than already has been happening, and the follow-up thought that he'll probably somehow find a way to do worse.

Interestingly, though, it's Severino who's going down to AAA and Kieboom who's staying in the majors.

The more I think about the SP situation, the more I realize the real problem in June-July has been Gio and Roark's combined meltdowns. Strasburg's injury and replacement with Fedde (SP6) and now Rodriguez (SP7) isn't good, obviously, and the fact that our depth guys aren't very good is a definite problem, but the real issue is that Gio and Roark were pitching very well to start the season and now they're pitching like Fedde. They're not Max, but they both are guys who have consistently given 6-7 innings while allowing 2-4 runs. If those two don't get squared away, then the Nats have much bigger problems than who plays catcher or what happens to Jefry Rodriguez.

PotomacFan said...

@DezoPenguin: agreed. If Gio and Tanner were pitching to their historic norms, the Nats would be fine. But both have imploded. And it wasn't because of Severino. Gio, and to a lesser extent, Tanner, pitched just fine with Severino when Wieters first got injured. Remember, the Nats had the best SP era in baseball through the end of May. And then it all fell apart. The Nats may have won 3 of 4 games in Miami, but they gave up an average of 7 runs per game.

I don't see how the Nats can make the playoffs if this continues. Few if any teams have enough depth to replace their 2, 3, and 4 SP. Number 2 is coming back, so that should help. But 3, 4 and maybe 5 are no good, at least not now. And there is NO ONE behind them. I just hope Rodriguez doesn't lose confidence in himself as a result of being thrust into the bigs too early.

And for this reason, I don't see the Nats trading any top prospects at the trade deadline. To the extent the Nats do make trades, I'm thinking they would only trade for a player that they can control through 2019, and at a position of need for 2019 (e.g. catcher). Trading anyone valuable for a 2 month rental doesn't make much sense.

Huzzah! said...

Francisco Cervelli and Adam Eaton not getting off on the right foot should we trade for Cervelli at the deadline!

G Cracka X said...

@Dezo Well said. Last year, the rotation was Max, Stras, Gio, Roark, and Ross/Jackson/Cole and everything was fine. Nats were 3rd in MLB in starting pitcher fWAR in 2017.

Jay said...

I agree that I would not make any trades at this point. This is why I hate the wait and see approach to the bullpen the last few years. I think the trades through the years have added up to make the Nats farm system rather top heavy. At this point, if Gio and Roark don't figure it out it won't matter anyway. You can't exist on 4 innings from your starters 4/5 nights.

Ole PBN said...

@GCX- That "talent" you listed is a little iffy. Karns had one mediocre year and is now out of baseball. Robbie Ray I'll give you (though he's worse than Gio/Roark this year). I'm not sorry we lost Pivetta, don't think he'd be of help now, just didn't like how Papelbon unfolded. Giolito blows. Lopez wasn't drafted, he was signed Dunning and Luzardo wouldn't help today.

Anonymous said...

The Nats quality play from 2012 is an obvious contributing factor in why the Nationals drafting has been less than stellar. They have crappy drafting slots.

Player development is a concern. Treinen and pitcher formerly named Rivero are doing far better with their new teams than they did for the Nationals.

blovy8 said...

You can argue about how they handled Storen to get to that point, but the Nats were in a position where they needed immediate closers. I can't fault them for trading young relievers for established ones of the same caliber in trying to get to the postseason and have someone who can get the last out.

That Papelbon trade stank from the beginning, though. I always thought Pivetta was way too much to give up and it was subtraction by addition having that jerk around.

NG said...

Well, hold on just a second with this: "Player development is a concern. Treinen and pitcher formerly named Rivero are doing far better with their new teams than they did for the Nationals."

Treinen was a mediocre A-ball starter in the A's org, and was basically a throw-in in the Michael Morse trade, and Rivero/Vazquez was an injured A-ball starter for the Rays and a throw-in in the Jose Lobaton deal. Both those guys only made the majors because they were successfully converted into major-league relievers by the Nationals.

Rivero/Vazquez isn't really doing "far better" for Pittsburgh than with the Nats: he put up a 143 ERA+ with the Nats in 2015, better than this year with Pittsburgh (only last year was he better than that). So he was very good here and very good there.

Anonymous said...

^^ Agreed, and still we traded for 2 months of a very good Melancon. If we had won it all that year, that trade would have been so worth it. We didn't. That is the price you pay for going "all in."

Anonymous said...

Rivero/Vazquez was looking like a break out star at the end of 2015. Dusty overused him in 2016, partly due to lack of quality alternatives (but it is never excusable to wear down an arm because the other arms). At one point, his ERA was up to 6.82. They started using him in less stressful situations, his ERA went down to 4.53 when they traded him to the Pirates.

The proof is in the trade. Rizzo would never trade the 2015 Rivero - young cheap successful almost-ready-to-be-closer under contractual control for years - for a rental closer. You only make that trade if you think he's the 2016 version - prospect showing signs that he might not be the prospect that you thought you once had.

Anonymous said...

Blake Treinen

year - team - era
2017 - WSN - 5.73
2018 - OAK - 2.13
2018 - OAK - 0.79

Treinen was indeed floundering with the Nationals. Treinen is performing far better with the Oakland A's than he ever had with the Nationals.

NG said...

No one disputes Treinen was bad with the Nats in 2017. But he also was great in 2015 and 2016 - his 187 ERA+ with the Nats in 2016 is almost as good as his 193 ERA+ with the A's this year.

My point is that Treinen's struggles in 2017 are not a failure of player development, which got him to the majors, it's a failure of player -- he didn't perform in high-leverage closing situations for a contending team (and still hasn't -- let's see how he does if/when the A's play meaningful games).

Ole PBN said...

Speaking of Treinen's success, anyone take a look at AJ Cole in NY? Maybe it's just a change of scenery for these guys, or perhaps our coaching/player development is pretty weak?

Or you could just attribute both of these cases to moving to low-leverage teams or situations.

JE34 said...

In the first 2 innings tonight, the Nats are 0-5 with RISP.
Treinen and Cole performed better in new scenarios.
The mental side of baseball looms large indeed.

BxJaycobb said...

Jesus Luzardo is the name you’re looking for. Unfortunately we dealt him away. But by all accounts he’s looking like a top of rotation stud. (He’s starting futures game for world team).

BxJaycobb said...

Not sure you’re appreciating how hard it is to “draft well” I.e. get more than one maybe two major league contributors when you’re finishing in top 10 teams in record like every year. I think most evaluators would say that having 4 possible impact players in the pipeline (Soto, Robles, kieboom, Romero) for a team that’s been contending for a title for like 6 years is pretty good. It’s no coincidence that teams like the tigers (during their run), the Phillies (during their run a few years ago), the giants (during their run), and the rangers (during their run) produced almost no impact talent from the draft for like half a decade when they were winning divisions. In fact, new potential stars coming up through the systems teams that have been contending for half a decade are crazy rare, whether international FAs or trade acquisitions or draftees. And we have MULTIPLE future all stars coming up. Not getting a pick in the top 20 means you are playing at a large large disadvantage in terms of getting useful talent. During their run the Nats have done a pretty admirable job of drafting pieces useful enough to trade for big leaguers (which is what you do when you’re contending). There is a reason that windows close. It’s not because there’s a core group of guys and they get too expensive. It’s because inevitably there’s no new crop of quality kids drafted coming up BEHIND that group.

sirc said...

@ Ole PBN and JE34 and a few anonymous folk:

How many teams are saying the same thing about Hellickson with the Nats in 2018? Or about EJAX last year? Or about Albers last year? Or about Adam Lind last year? Or about Matt Adams or Mark Reynolds this year? Or Justin Miller?

It isn't a Nats problem. It happens, that players change teams and perform better. It happens a lot, and it happens to every team and with every team.

BxJaycobb said...

Also...I don’t know what you mean when you say we haven’t drafted any pitching. Robbie Rays an all star level starter. Jesus Luzardo looks like a stud. Giolito at one point was the top prospect in baseball. Pivetta looks like a solid number 3 starter. Unfortunately we’ve been trading these people.

BxJaycobb said...

Luzardo 100% could help right now. The As just aren’t on the same schedule as us. Pivetta would 100% help today. Robbie Ray is a stud.

BxJaycobb said...

I find it amazing that Soto has only been worth 0.8 (bWAR) and 1.5 fWAR over 40 games. That would project to like a 3-5 WAR season. And he’s at like a .980 OPS. I guess the metrics really don’t like his defense. Because his offense has been MVP level. Hopefully he works on it in the offseason and can bring himself up to being an average defender in corner OF.

BxJaycobb said...

To be clear, the fact that Soto has been able to be above replacement level at all as a 19 year old is crazy. I meant more like “wow given how incredible he’s been I would expect him to be playing at a 5-8 WAR rate.

Josh Higham said...

It's an incredibly operated team indeed that can do what the Braves did from 1991-2005, playing at a 90+ win clip and still routinely bringing up good prospects. It's far more normal for a team to be very good for a stretch, run out of good prospects, and stock up the farm during a run of relative mediocrity before returning to contention.

DezoPenguin said...

Rizzo recognizes that pitching prospects are a crapshoot, far more than position player prospects are; that's why he's willing to use them as trade chips to patch holes in the MLB roster, while holding on to guys like Soto, Robles, and Kieboom, who are more likely to become who we think they're going to be. This is especially true with the Nationals, who tend to favor drafting high-ceiling/low-floor types, often with injury issues, to make up for their poor draft position. Luzardo looks like he might develop into a stud...but then again, Giolito was a hands-down, can't-miss prospect and he looks lost.

Really, the only time Rizzo has traded a pitching prospect where it was a genuinely bad deal from the get-go was giving the Phils Pivetta for Papelbon, where the issues had more to do with the guy they were getting (Storen was doing fine as a closer; they needed filler guys in the middle, not a $13-million-dollar closer who was worse than the one we had, leading to Rizzo having to go get Melancon the next year and Doolittle the year after that.)

Unfortunately, the guys Rizzo has kept (Fedde, Gio/Lopez when they were here, etc.) have fallen into the "didn't perform" category, causing holes in the rotation. That's all part of the volatility of pitching prospects, though, and how player development can vary (for example, Ray thrived with the D'backs, but not the Tigers after we'd traded him).

Jay said...

Good point. Also, I think there is something to be said for any player going from a good team to a bad team. The bad team can just run the guy out there and there is less pressure to perform now. The prospect player can learn and improve at a slower rate. Good examples of that would be Giolitto (though he has not done better in Chicago) the Nats needed him to transition to the majors and be good quickly. Treinen is another example of the same. Treinen has done better in Oakland in part bc last year Oakland told him you are our closer no matter what and if you have some off night no big deal.

Anonymous said...

LOL, I don't think any team has ever told a player "you'll be our closer no matter what." I get your point, you could have stopped after the less-pressure-to-perform part. No need to end with a head scratcher :)

Kubla said...

Gio goes 2 ER in 6 and the offense strands everyone. Most pitchers would kill to know how it feels to be Max Scherzer.

G Cracka X said...

Nimmo keeps the Phillies at bay for a night!

Max David said...

They've played over 90 games (more than 55% of the season).
They are a .500 team through those 90 games.
"You are what your record says you are" to quote an old NFL coach, and the record says the Nats are a middling team at best.
Should they even make it out of the NL this year, they certainly aren't beating the Red Sox, Yankees, or Astros in the World Series, and while it would be nice to see the Nats advance past the NLDS and hopefully to the World Series, the goal should be to win the World Series, not just get there.



I know ownership will never do this, and this is a hot topic, but IF they lose anymore than 1 game in Queens this weekend I would seriously think about selling, based on what I wrote above. The prospect base has been depleted with the trades they've made the last few years, maybe the Yankees offer a Kings ransom for Harper??

JE34 said...

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/24049347/mlb-hitters-explain-why-just-beat-shift

Daniel Murphy speaks thoughtfully about the shift. He explains that he's trying to reach 2nd base in every at bat. I get where he's coming from, but it actually highlights my big complaint about the whole situation. If more hitters focused on putting the ball in play and reaching base -- that is to say, avoiding an out! -- you might get more baserunners. Pulling a ball into an area where there are 6 fielders would seem to decrease your odds of reaching safely, no?

It is a conundrum, to be sure. The Nats numbers with men in scoring position are not pretty...so I can see the logic in Murphy's approach. But, more baserunners means more opportunities, and placing more trust in the guy behind you to deliver.

Ole PBN said...

^^ Fully agree with this and I saw Murphy's argument as BS. Basically saying that 3 singles is hard to come by, which I agree. But he makes it sound like the guys that are getting the shift are the only guys capable of getting a double. Murphy singles, and someone hitting behind him with regular alignment is fully capable of hitting a double and (potentially) scoring him from first. I understand the attempt, but the proof is in the pudding: it ain't working. His philosophy is more apt at giving the other team an out. He says it's harder to come by three singles, but he and others with this line of thinking make it easy for the opponent to get 3 outs.

My guess is it comes down to pride. Creating havoc on the bases doesn't get the $$$ and neither do singles. Doubles and homers do. It's just arrogant athletes "getting theirs."

blovy8 said...

Given his legs, he should stop trying to take more than one base at a time anyway.

BxJaycobb said...

It’s definitely *not* about guys who want to hit lots of homers because homers pay and having a high OBP doesn’t pay. Since that’s the opposite of how the market is right now (see, e.g. Mike moustakas, mark Reynolds, etc). Lots of homers and low OBP is not that valuable. Higher OBP and less power is more valuable. (One reason OPS is a dumb stat....it weights OBP and SLG equally, when actually OBP is more important to run producing value). I guess what I’m saying is. If they’re only not beating the shift because of money, they’re behavinf in an economically irrational way. I don’t think that’s it.

BxJaycobb said...

Probably could do it with either kieboom or multiple non kieboom/Robles pieces.

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